A complete set of official Gemini Mission patches.Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of the United States of America. It operated between Projects Mercury and Apollo, during the years 1963-1966. Its objective was to develop techniques for advanced space travel, notably those necessary for Project Apollo, whose objective was to land men on the Moon. Gemini missions involved extravehicular activity and orbital maneuvers including rendezvous and docking.Gemini was originally seen as a simple extrapolation of the Mercury program, and thus early on was called Mercury Mark II. The actual program had little in common with Mercury and was in fact superior to even Apollo in some ways. (See Big Gemini.) This was mainly a result of its late start date, which allowed it to benefit from much that had been learned during the early stages of the Apollo project (which, despite its later launch dates, was actually begun before Gemini).Its primary difference from Mercury was that the earlier spacecraft had all systems other than the reentry rockets situated within the capsule, to which access of nearly all was through the astronaut's hatchway, while Gemini had many power, propulsion, and life support systems in a detachable module like a huge bowl; many components in the capsule itself were reachable each through its own small access door. The original intention was for Gemini to land on solid ground instead of at sea, using a paraglider rather than a parachute, and for the crew to be seated upright controlling the forward motion of the craft before its landing. To facilitate this, the parachute cord did not attach just to the nose of the craft; there was an additional attachment point for balance near the heat shield. This cord was covered by a strip of metal between the doors. Early short-duration missions had their electrical power supplied by batteries; later endurance missions had the first fuel cells in manned spacecraft.